Border agents are warning the public that 306 foreign criminals have active arrest warrants in Canada. Among them are sex offenders and violent convicts.
According to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), 37,326 foreigners currently reside in the country that may pose a flight risk or a danger to the public. Of that, 33,032 people face deportation.
As first reported by the Globe and Mail, CBSA has lost track of these foreign nationals but remains "strongly committed to ensuring the safety and security of Canadians."
As of July 26, the border agency issued 3,345 arrest warrants this year and 4,600 warrants in 2022. Both represent a noticeable increase from 2020 and 2021, when the COVID pandemic hampered operations.
Conservative Immigration critic Tom Kmiec said deportations during the COVID pandemic dropped, as did deportation orders.
According to Liberal MP Pam Damoff, parliamentary secretary to the Public Safety Minister, CBSA issued 2,313 deportation orders in 2019, dropping to 1,194 in 2020 and 1,464 in 2021.
Until last November, the agency issued 1,688 deportation orders to foreign nationals for 2022. During the same period, the federal government only deported 409 people from Canada in 2022, with 950 foreign nationals "awaiting enforcement."
In 2019, CBSA only carried out 1,122 deportations, with 1,860 "awaiting enforcement."
"Removing individuals who are inadmissible for criminality is paramount," said CBSA spokesperson Guillaume Bérubé in a statement to the Globe.
"These may include some of the following: association with a criminal organization, engagement in trafficking or smuggling of persons, convictions for sexual offences or offences involving weapons or violence, trafficking in narcotics, etc."
Among them is Ethiopian native Abdirahman Moumin Okie, a convicted sex offender who last resided in Montreal.
He is featured on the agency's "wanted" page, which is subject to removal as its last update occurred in 2018.
"This individual is inadmissible to Canada for serious criminality for being convicted of forcible confinement, committing a sexual assault along with another person and conspiracy to commit sexual assault," reads his description.
"The safety of Canadians and their communities is job number one,″ said Kmiec.
"I'm very concerned that the government is allowing known criminals to remain in Canada despite having issued papers to deport them," he told the Globe.
A foreign national facing a deportation order and committing a crime in Canada must complete their sentence first. However, others are put on "immigration bail" while awaiting enforcement, and others appeal the decision to expel them in the courts.
In 2020, it took an average of 220 days to deport an offender after issuing the order, compared to 13 days last year.